Each year our lectionary presents a Gospel about Mary on the fourth Sunday of Advent, a Gospel about her response to her call and acceptance of her role in salvation history. Notice that Jesus is named twice in this year’s account from Matthew: “… You are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. … And they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” We are all immersed in Christmas things now — impossible not to be with bell ringers on corners, carols dominating the airwaves, sentimental Christmas dramas on several TV stations, decorations everywhere. Christmas can get pretty sentimental and all-absorbing. Our Gospel asks us to pause a little and consider what the baby means. This child fills the longing of our human hearts. We experience how powerless we feel to overcome the things that keep us from being holy, from being all we can be, and so we need to be saved by a power greater than ourselves. And we all experience how alone we feel at times in our human lives, and how scary that feeling is. And so we need an intimate God. Saving and intimacy — this is what is offered to us in the Christmas child.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia